Pacers and Thunder draw first blood
The Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City both won Game I’s in their respective conference semifinals. The Pacers beat the Knicks 102-95 at Madison Square Garden behind balanced scoring that included five layers with 14 points or more. Carmelo Anthony had 27 points and 11 rebounds for Knicks who were dominated on the boards 44-30. Oklahoma City trailed by nine heading into the fourth quarter but went ahead on a Kevin Durant jumper with 11 seconds left and went on to a 93-91 win. The Durantula had 35/15 while Kevin Martin added 25 points off the bench. The Grizz, the leagues best defensive team, couldn’t get stops down the stretch when it counted. Marc Gasol had 20/10 for Memphis.
Bulls/Heat and Warriors/Spurs start tonight
The two other conference semis start tonight with the Bulls at the Heat and the Warriors at the Spurs. The Heat, who haven’t played since completing their 4-0 sweep of Milwaukee on April 28th, are -11.5 with the total set at 186. The Bulls will likely be without Luol Deng who is suffering complications of a spinal tap. Guard Kirk Heinrich is a game time decision as of this writing. In Alamo City, the Spurs spot Golden State -8.5 with the high/low 201 1/2. Warrior PF David Lee who led the NBA in double-doubles but missed the final five games of the Nuggets series with a hip injury has been upgraded to probable.
NHL Playoff News
In Sunday’s NHL playoff action, the Penguin’s Chris Kunitz had two goals including the overtime winner as Pittsburg beat the Islanders 5-4. The Pens lead the series 2-1. The Minnesota Wild won their first playoff game in five years with a 3-2 overtime win over the Blackhawks. Chicago still leads the seris 2-1. Jason Zucker got the winner from a bad angle just 2:15 into extra time. Ottawa spanked Montreal 6-1 behind a 4-0 third period. J.G. Pageau recorded a hat-trick for the Sens who lead the series 2-1. In the late game, the San Jose Sharks took a commanding 3-0 lead over Vancouver with a 5-2 win at the Shark Tank.
Tonight on frozen pond, Boston is a -130 road favorite at Toronto with the series tied at one game apiece. The New York Rangers trail their series with the Caps 2-0 but are -145 home ice favorites over Washington. Detroit looks to even it’s series with the Ducks at Joe Lewis Arena. The Wings are -130. The Kings are -140 over St Louis with the total checking in at just 4 1/2 with the over +15 cents. The Blues lead the series 2-1.
MLB News and Notes
The Detroit Tigers completed their first four-game road sweep since 2006 with a 9-0 win over Houston. Frince Fielder went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the seventh to pick up the win.
Yu Darvish struck out 14 Red Sox in seven innings and Adrian Beltre won it with a two-out single in the ninth as Texas swept Boston with a 4-3 win. The Rangers are now tied with the Red Sox for the best record in baseball.
The Giants swept the Dodgers with a 4-3 win in the ESPN late game. Hunter Pence knocked in all four runs for San Franciso and Matt Cain won his first game of 2013.
Ragan takes checkered flag at Talladega
David Ragan survived weather, a couple of massive wrecks and a final green-white-checker finish to notch his second career win in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. Stablemate David Gilliland ifnished second making it a 1-2 sweep for Front Row Motor Sports. Carl Edwards, Michael Waltrip and Jimmie Johnson completed the top five. Johnson is till the points leader, 41 better than Edwards.
Check out all the highlights of the wreck-filled Aaron’s 499
Ernst in playoff at Quail Hollow
Early this week, 22-year-old rookie David Ernst thought that he’d be playing a Net.com event in Georgia. Thursday he got a tee time getting in as the fourth alternate in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. Sunday, he was champion after winning a playoff with Brit David Lynn in just his ninth tour event. Phil Mickelson had a one-shot lead with three holes to play but bogeyed 16 and 17 and saw his 20-foot put for birdie on 18 just lip out.
(NBA) Golden State +8.5 over San Antonio (Monday, May 6, 9:35 PM PM EST )